DULUTH — In a 60-minute service filled with singing and a charge to more than 150 staff members and guests statewide, the Georgia Baptist Mission Board was officially launched on the first Tuesday of 2016.
The Jan. 5 service in the Missions and Ministry Center on Sugarloaf Parkway focused on the dire need of reaching the largest state east of the Mississippi River for Christ. The need for the state’s seven million unchurched residents to hear the Good News was threaded throughout the service.
Due to limited space in the chapel the service was live streamed on the Internet.
White focuses on lostness of Georgia
In his opening comments Georgia Baptist Mission Board Executive Director J. Robert White focused on the global mission field that begins in Georgia and spreads throughout the continent and the world.
“In Acts 1:8 we are called to reach Jerusalem and Judea and Samaria, and all the world. Every mission field is important,” he stressed.
“Georgia is a strategic mission field with a 70- to 80-percent population that is without Christ. God has called us to Georgia.
“This is our mission field where we want to encourage Georgia Baptists and our churches to reach our state for Christ,” he said as he detailed the spiritual need of fellow Georgians.
Mark Hearn delivers charge
Mark Hearn, pastor of First Baptist Church of Duluth, delivered the charge to staff. He centered his comments around the commissioning concept with its military connotation such as the commissioning of an officer.
He focused on the need for skilled personnel with a variety of gifts if the war is to be won and victory is to be proclaimed.
“How are we doing in the Lord’s army?” he intoned before pausing briefly and following with “Welcome to the Recruitment Center.”
Hearn then outlined how warfare has changed through the centuries, beginning with the need for foot soldiers. “The world has changed but we still need foot soldiers in great quantities. In spiritual war we need an army of men and women who will stand and be counted in the battle for souls.”
Trench diggers are also important to enable soldiers to fight more effectively. “We need people who are willing to dig deep and protect others against the evil in this world,” he continued.
Hearn then focused on the need for tank drivers. “It’s time to climb into God’s tank and tell the devil that the war is over, he’s been defeated. Tank drivers allow us to move forward, not backward in the war.”
He then continued his charge by saying “I commission you, my friends – you are a soldier in God’s army.”
Following the statement he read a piece by an unknown author that gave a bold description of a soldier.
I am a soldier
I am a soldier in the army of God.
The Lord Jesus Christ is my commanding officer.
The Holy Bible is my code of conduct; faith, prayer and the Word of God are my weapons of warfare.
I have been taught by the Holy Spirit – trained by experience, tried by adversity, and tested by fire.
I am a volunteer in this army, and I am enlisted in this army; but I will either retire in this army at the rapture or die in this army but I will not get out, sell out, be talked out, or pushed out.
I am faithful, reliable, capable, and dependable.
If my God needs me, I am there.
If He needs be in the Sunday School to teach the children, work with the youth, help adults or just sit and learn, I’ll be there.
He can use me because I am there!
I am a soldier.
I am not a baby. I do not need to be pampered, petted, primed up, pumped up, or pepped up.
I am a soldier.
No one has to call me, remind me, write me, visit me, entice me, or lure me.
I am a soldier, I am not a wimp.
I am in place saluting my King, obeying His orders, praising His name, and building His kingdom!
No one has to send me flowers, gifts, food, cards, candy, or give me handouts.
I do not need to be cuddled, cradled, cared for, or catered to.
I am committed.
I cannot have my feelings hurt bad enough to turn me around.
I cannot lost enough to cause me to quit.
If I end up with nothing, I will still come out ahead.
I will win.
My God has, and will continue, to supply all of my needs.
I am more than a conqueror.
I will always triumph.
I can do all things through Christ.
Devils cannot defeat me
People cannot disillusion me.
Weather cannot weary me.
Sickness cannot stop me.
Battles cannot beat me.
Money cannot buy me.
Governments cannot silence me and hell cannot handle me.
I am a soldier.
Even death cannot destroy me.
For when my Commander calls me from this battlefield He will promote me to Captain and then allow me to rule with Him.
I am a soldier in the army and I’m marching, claiming victory.
I will not give up.
I will not turn around.
I am a soldier marching, heaven bound.